Part of the
Centre for
Engineering Education
TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University
Centre for
Engineering Education


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Project introduction and background information

Since 2000, several online teaching and learning activities (TLAs) have gradually been implemented in the bachelor Food Technology (BFT), e.g. digital exercises, online assignments with built-in feedback and knowledge clips. Knowledge clips are short videos, explaining a single topic, what might replace a lecture. Implementing online TLAs causes a partial shift from face-to-face to online activities for learning, what might cause a decrease in teacher-student contact.

In this study the use of online TLAs have been evaluated on large scale: how these online TLAs are combined with face-to-face activities, and thus what the balance is between online and face-to-face learning activities in the bachelor.

Objective and expected outcomes

To create an overview of all the teaching methods and activities, the course guides of all first year (14) and second year (10) courses were studied. This overview was used to design questionnaires. At the end of each period, the questionnaires were provided on paper to the students after completion of one of the exams. The results of the questionnaires were discussed with a group of students (approximately 5 students) after each period.

Results and learnings

Based on the outcomes of this project, we can see that students are in general content with the teaching activities. We see that the opinion of students differs; some students would like to have as many contact hours as possible, while other students prefer more to work from home or elsewhere.

Sometimes online teaching methods are more effective, and thus the amount of contact hours can be reduced. Students do not see this as an disadvantage, but as an opportunity to work independently. When students do have the opportunity to have contact with the teacher, they are better prepared.

Therefore, the implementation of online teaching activities can be seen as a positive change. However, online teaching activities should always be combined with face-to-face activities, to balance the amount of contact hours. In this way, the courses are also suitable for all types of learners.

Based on the outcomes of the study we have the following recommendations for implementing online TLAs in general, and more recommendations for knowledge clips specifically.


Recommendations for the use of online TLAs

  1. Explain the aim of all online TLAs, and also explain which activity is meant for which type of learner.
  2. Combine online with face-to-face activities:  Do not replace all face-to-face activities with online activities. In this way, students still have the possibility to have contact and interaction with the teacher and with fellow students.
  3. In online group work, plan an introductory meeting with the supervisor and students. In this way, they know their fellow students what makes it easier to work together.

Recommendations for the use of knowledge clips

  1. Implement clips slowly, so students have time to get used to the use of knowledge clips: The transition from the first year to the second year is experienced as quite difficult for the students, due to the large difference in learning activities. It can be difficult for students to watch knowledge clips when they are used to attending lectures.
  2. Remind students of the existence of knowledge clips: for example, mention them when many questions are asked about the same topic.
  3. Explain and the aim of the knowledge clip: is it an introducing, explaining, or motivating knowledge clip? For who is this knowledge clip meant? Do the knowledge clips replace lectures? Do the students need to know everything literally?  Do the knowledge clips correspond to text in the reader? Is it an extension, or is it a discussion of the theory as explained in the reader?
  4. Make a schedule: Students appreciate it when a schedule is made, so they know if they are still on track or not. It is difficult for students to estimate how long it will take to watch the knowledge clips. When compared to lectures, knowledge clips require a high amount of self-discipline.
  5. Inform students about the possibility to ask questions.
  6. Combine knowledge clips with face-to-face TLAs, such as introductory lectures or tutorials. 
  7. Limit the amount of knowledge clips: It is harder to watch all the knowledge clips.